Tag Archives: leadership

Are you a leader or a follower?

Excellent blog by Kristian Mansfield.

Are you a leader, or a follower?

Leadership is the art of persuasion, the act of motivating people to do more than they ever thought possible in pursuit of a greater good. It has nothing to do with your title, authority or seniority.

You’re not a leader just because you have people reporting to you. You also don’t suddenly become a leader once you reach a certain level. A true leader influences others to achieve their best. Leadership is about social influence and how people react to their influences, not the power of a job title. If your actions inspire others to do more and be more, then you are a leader.

To find out if you are a leader of a follower, answer these questions honestly.

Are you willing to learn?

Leaders, while confident, are not afraid to admit when they don’t know something, and they’re willing to learn from anyone who can teach them, whether that person is a subordinate or a superior. Followers are too busy trying to prove they’re competent to learn anything from anyone else.

Do you go above and beyond?

Followers often do their jobs, and that’s it. No matter how good they may be at those jobs, it rarely occurs to them to go beyond their basic functions. Leaders see their job descriptions as to where the job starts. Leaders see their real role as adding value to the great good, and they add it whenever and wherever they see an opportunity.

Are you humble?

Followers are always chasing glory, always shouting THEIR successes. Leaders are humble, they are the first to thank and acknowledge people for helping the team succeed. They don’t allow any authority they may have to make them feel that they are better than anyone else. They don’t hesitate to jump in and do the work nobody else wants to do, and they won’t ask anyone to do anything they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves.

Are you open to change?

Followers are content with how things are, they fear change. Leaders see opportunity in change. Because leaders want constant improvement, they’re never afraid to ask, “What’s next?”

Are you decisive?

Followers don’t like to act, out of fear that they’ll do the wrong thing. Leaders aren’t afraid to make a decision, even when they’re not sure if it’s the right one. They’d rather make a decision and be wrong than suffer from the idea they are indecisive.

Do you accept Responsibility?

When mistakes are made, followers will blame other people or other things. Leaders are the opposite, they quickly accept accountability for their actions. They don’t worry that admitting that they are wrong might make them look bad, because they know that blaming someone else, will make them look worse.

Are you confident?

Followers see the talents and accomplishments of other people as a threat. Leaders see those same talents and accomplishments as an asset. They want to make things better, and they’ll be open to help anywhere they can find it. Leaders are true team players. They aren’t afraid to admit that they need other people to succeed and to make them strong where they are weak.

Are you unflappable?

Followers often let obstacles and mishaps throw them off course. When something goes wrong, they crumble. Leaders anticipate obstacles and love the challenge. They know that even the best plans can run into problems, so they take problems in their stride and ride the task to completion.

Are you passionate?

Followers are trapped in the daily grind. They go to work and complete their tasks so that they can go home at the end of the day and resume their real lives. Leaders love what they do and see their work as an important part of life. Their job isn’t just what they do; it’s an important part of who they are.

Do you focus on titles?

Followers care a lot about titles, both their own and those of the people they work with. They’re very conscious of who outranks whom. Leaders, on the other hand, focus on what each individual brings to the table, regardless of what’s printed on a business card.

So, are you a follower or a leader?

You can have the title and position without being a leader. You may have worked for someone who fits that description. And you probably have colleagues who serve in leadership roles without a title.

Leadership and followership are mindsets. They’re completely different ways of looking at the world. One is reactive, and the other is proactive. One is pessimistic; the other is optimistic. Where one sees a to-do list, the other sees possibilities.

So don’t wait for the title. Leadership isn’t something that anyone can give you, you have to earn it and claim it for yourself.




The danger of ‘the last word’


Have you ever won an argument only to found out that you really lost more than you gained?


Having “the last word” of an argument isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact it might be just the first word of the next argument!  There might be a momentary feeling of satisfaction in winning the argument but it’s both a fleeting and empty gain if someone else had to be disrespected in the process. Think for a moment. If you win the argument but lose the respect, trust, and affection of the other person was it worth the ‘win’?


Even temporary relationships like the encounters you have while shopping and traveling have a bigger impact than we might think. I remember being in a restaurant when someone ripped into a waitress because the coffee was not hot enough. Is it not enough to stand your ground when requesting good service without having to resort to belittling or deriding another human being? (I’ve read that the ‘Sunday lunch crowd’ is regarded as one of the worst in this regard by restaurant workers…a point for somber reflection.)


Relationships aren’t meant to be battle grounds. Especially when we argue about such petty things, how a decision is made might be as or more important than the actual decision. The last one standing is not the victor. In fact, if someone has to lose in order for the other to win, the best part of the relationship may be lost. Great relationships are best characterized by cooperative and synergistic efforts that build each other up. And we don’t build something up by tearing it down. You can’t protect, preserve, defend, support, sustain or shield with words and actions that attack, offend, belittle, or disparage the other person.


Here’s the challenge. The next time you find yourself at odds with someone else, consider what is really important. Ask yourself how ‘winning’ this argument will affect the rest of your relationship with this person and future decisions. In our attempt to be understood, let’s make sure we are first attempting to understand what is important to the other person. We can do this by being people of peace who build up others, not tear them down. After all, don’t we so very much appreciate grace and forgiveness when it is extended to us that we should also be eager to extend it to others?


There is a line from a gentle Christmas song that would guide us well all year long in our relationships and especially or ‘arguments’:


Let there be peace on earth  –  and let it begin with me.


Make sure your ‘last word’ can live with all the words that follow.


Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”  Romans 12:18